late 14c., protectors of the arts, from Old French Muse and directly from Latin Musa, from Greek Mousa, "the Muse," also "music, song," from PIE root *men- (1) "to think." Meaning "inspiring goddess of a particular poet" is from late 14c.
The traditional names and specialties of the nine Muses, daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, are: Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (history), Erato (love poetry, lyric art), Euterpe (music, especially flute), Melpomene (tragedy), Polymnia (hymns), Terpsichore (dance), Thalia (comedy), Urania (astronomy).
"to reflect, to be absorbed in thought," mid-14c., from Old French muser (12c.) "to ponder, dream, wonder; loiter, waste time," literally "to stand with one's nose in the air" (or, possibly, "to sniff about" like a dog who has lost the scent), from muse "muzzle," from Gallo-Roman *musa "snout," of unknown origin. Probably influenced in sense by muse (n.). Related: Mused; musing.
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